INEC, PDP Bicker over Compliance with A’Court Order
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday disagreed over the implementation of the Court of Appeal order that the electoral body should grant the main opposition party access to materials used during the presidential elections held on February 23, 2019.
While INEC told THISDAY that it had complied, PDP insisted that the commission had not obeyed the order of the appellate court.
INEC had declared President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the presidential election, having polled 15,191,847 votes, while the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar came second with 11,262,978 votes.
But, dissatisfied with the outcome, Atiku approached the tribunal claiming he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.
He insisted the result from INEC server showed that he defeated Buhari in the presidential election.
However, last week, Atiku’s legal team decried alleged INEC’s refusal to grant them access to the materials, which had been inspected and paid for in the previous week.
A member of the team, Mr. Silas Onu, explained that efforts to meet with INEC’s legal team had become an uphill task, but insisted that they would continue to follow up until the commission complies with the court order.
He warned that they might be forced to file for contempt against the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and other officers of the commission if they do not give a positive response soon.
But responding to THISDAY enquiry yesterday, The Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the petitioner lied that the commission had not complied with the court order.
Oyekanmi, who declined to comment further on the matter since it was before the court, said that the order had been complied with as far as the commission was concerned.
According to him, “The Independent National Electoral Commission has complied with the orders of the Presidential Election Tribunal as far as the petition of the petitioner is concerned. It is, therefore, not true as the petitioner has alleged, that the commission has not complied.
And since this is a subject of litigation, I will not comment more on the matter.”
Speaking with THISDAY last night, however, a lawyer in the legal team of Atiku, Chief Ozekhome SAN, insisted that INEC was yet to comply with the order of the Court of Appeal.